Leo Akershoek

About Leo Akershoek


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Quiet old age? Spare me!

And that is certainly true for Leo, above, who spends over eight hours a day on his PC working on genealogy. 

The above picture was featured in an article on seniors and computers in the Dutch publication Net-magazine .

Leo Akershoek with his mother Johanna in 1936.

Leo was born in The Hague in 1935.
He is married to Gerry Kouman, secretary, born in Rilland, Zeeland in 1941, the daughter of Gommert Kouman and Maria de Nooijer. They have a son, Mark Jan, born in 1975 in Etterbeek, Belgium. From a previous marriage Leo has a daughter, Elisabeth, born in Pijnacker in 1964. Her children Kevin, born in 1995 in Zierikzee and Sheila, born in 1998 in Goes are Leo's only grandchildren.

After The Hague, Leo lived successively in Pynacker, Zaandam, three different villages around Brussels, Tervuren in Belgium, Culemborg, Taworgha in Libya. He presently lives on the island of Zuid Beveland, Zeeland in Wemeldinge (Kapelle), a village facing the Oosterschelde, on a heritage street lined with ancient trees.

Career

After a business education and his first job, Leo became a Junior Auditor with the Dutch branch of a well-known international auditing firm (1957-1961). One of their clients, an US trans-national in office-equipment, having just opened their Dutch subsidiary, hired him as Central Administration Officer (1961-1967).

After 6 years, Leo needed a new challenge, and in 1967 joined another US trans-national, now a pharmaceutical company, planning to open its Dutch branch, where through a distributor they were already market-leader for one of their main products. Two years later Leo accepted the company's offer for the position of Chief Financial/Administrative Officer, directly responsible to the US parent company for the accounting, purchasing, import/export, budgets, internal control & securities and salaries for their Benelux operations. As a result thereof, Leo made business trips to New York, Chicago, Norwich NY, London, Paris, Geneva and Pietra Liegura in Italy. In October, 1986 the US parent company was taken over by another US company, who laid off all office staff. After nearly 20 years, Leo had to look for a new position.

He found a new challenge in Libya (1987-1991) as Administrative Manager responsible for the set-up and maintenance of all Libyan administrative procedures with respect to the Dairy and Poultry Production Complex in Taworgha, one of the two projects of HVA.-Amsterdam / Cyprus / Libya. Each DPPC consisted of 800 ha. agriculture (3500 tons of hay), 1200 dairy cattle, a pasteurized milkfactory ( 5 tons/year), a feedmill (31,000 tons), and 20 poultry farms (10 million hatching eggs en 5,5 million chickens), a poultry processing plant (8,600 tons of frozen meat) and a water treatment plant (2,000 m3 water per hour). In 1991 the project ended for HVA, and thus for Leo as well.

Retirement

In 1991 Leo stopped his active "working life" and concentrated on his three hobbies.

Gardening

The garden surrounding the house, formerly a clergyman's abode, totals 500 square metres and gives Leo hours of pleasure outside whenever the weather is clement, and inside planning the next season.

Genealogy

Since 1989 Leo has been researching his ancestors and found so far more than 3200 persons in 55 generations going back to Macomir, who died in 281. Charlemagne is also among his ancestors through the family line of Aleman. Leo also looked for the ancestors of my wife, although she has as yet no dukes, counts, kings or emperors as ancestors, he found 650 persons in 25 generations back to 1260. There is no link yet between his ancestors from Goeree and those of his wife whose ancestors come from nearby Zeeland.

Now many hours a day are spent in research and the collection of all family names on Goeree-Overflakkee, essentially before 1900. This has resulted in a regional database with over 70,000 individuals. Leo pays special attention to aspects related to emigration to the USA. He is always ready to help anyone to find their Goeree-Overflakkee ancestors and has organised a highly succesful reunion of the curious from the States, South-Africa and elsewhere, with their island relatives.

The Red Cross Volunteer Corps

The photo shows Leo in uniform as Commander during a big exercise in discussion with two of his staff members. He had previously been a member of the Corps in the Hague from September 1953 until 1969 when he moved to Brussels. In March 1992 he rejoined as Commander for the Red Cross Volunteer Corps, in Kapelle, Zeeland until October 1996.